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Is There Such a Thing as a Safe Car

I’m Katelyn Holub, an attorney focusing on personal injury law in northwest Indiana.

Welcome to Personal Injury Primer, where we break down the law into simple terms, provide legal tips, and discuss personal injury law topics.

Today’s question comes from an existing client who needs to replace a car totaled in a crash. She asks, “I want a safe car, but is there such as thing as a safe car”?

Every year a new set of lists tout different vehicles as the safest in the automobile industry. You have probably seen such lists.  Consumer Reports, Motor Trend, Car & Driver … all have “a list.”

What safety features really matter, though, when you are injured in an auto accident?

Well, people tend to focus on different components. Some people convince themselves that the size and weight of a big heavy vehicle will protect them the most, but is it really true?

Over the years, manufacturers have looked at crash data. From that data, they have focused on features that increase passenger safety in the event of an accident.

Yet, no matter the safety history of a particular vehicle, you can get hurt in any car.

With this understanding, what should doing your due diligence look like?

Consider airbags. Reject cars with a vehicle history of airbags failing to deploy. Or where pieces are breaking off of the airbag container and causing shrapnel injuries. There have been many airbag recalls. Steer clear of vehicles with such recalls.

Consider side reinforcement. Reject cars where reinforced framing has failed to hold up in a crash. Government crash test data should be available on a vehicle you are considering. Request it from the dealer if you cannot locate the data online.

Consider windshields. In crashes, does the shatter-resistant windshield fail and end up shattering, or does it hold together or break into protective pellet-sized round pieces that protect the skin. Again, seek out the testing data.

Consider cameras, blind-spot warning detection, and motion sensors. Do these systems work reliably? Do they cause false alarms and cause drivers to disable them? Study the reports and the data.

Consider antilock braking and electronic stability control. Do these systems work in all kinds of weather reliably? What does the data show?

Sometimes smaller cars designed to absorb impact and yet protect and surround occupants can be safe. They may be unrepairable after a crash, but if the occupants survive, great. If the occupants walk away without a scratch, even better.

No vehicle is entirely safe. If everyday cars had roll bars and cages and fire suppression like the Indy race cars, they could be made very secure. But would anyone buy them?

I hope you found this information helpful. If you are a victim of someone’s carelessness, substandard medical care, a product defect, work injury, or another personal injury, please call (219) 736-9700 with your questions. You can also learn more about us by visiting our website at DavidHolubLaw.com – while there, make sure you request a copy of our book “Fighting for Truth.”